The Raptors newest rookie prospect hasn’t officially joined the team yet, however, by all accounts the 7’ shot blocking Lucas Nogueira has more going for him than outstanding hair. How the 16th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft acquired by the Atlanta Hawks from the Celtics burst onto the NBA scene on draft night is easy to remember.
Nicknamed Bebe, Nogueira is from Sao Goncalo, Brazil and has been playing for Asefa Estudiantes in Spain. He joined the Junior team in 2009 before moving up to play in the Spanish ACB league in 2011-12. Typical of how European teams develop young players, Nogueira had to fight for minutes and he only averaged 13.6 minutes and 16.6 minutes over the past two seasons respectively. He did, however, make an impact by blocking shots and finishing at a very high percentage around the rim. Last season he shot over 70 percent from the field and his 1.6 blocks translates to almost 4 blocks per 40 minutes.
His ability to be effective in the paint was on full display with the Hawks at the 2013 NBA Summer League where he averaged 6.4 points on 62.5 percent shooting, 6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.4 blocks in 21.8 minutes.
It’s obvious from the video Bebe is long. The 7-footer has a 7’6 wingspan and the long lanky frame is slowly beginning to fill out now that he is almost 22-years-old. There is still plenty of work to do on his body, but it is pretty obvious he has a fair amount of natural shot blocking talent.
Eric Freeman of The Ball Don’t Lie lamented the fact Nogueira didn’t stick with Atlanta seeing him as possibly one of the most enjoyable prospects to watch last summer.
it’s still a bummer for North American fans, if only because Nogueira looked like a player with the opportunity to become one of the most enjoyable players in 2013’s relatively unexciting rookie class. No part of this development will bar him from becoming that, of course, but the process has been delayed. We all know that it takes time for rookies to develop into their full selves, but the instant gratification of seeing them in NBA uniforms often feels like a right, not a privilege. Putting off Nogueira’s arrival is a disappointment.
Last season was tough on Nogueira as knee tendonitis and bruising caused him to miss a significant number of games in December through February and spend about 10 weeks getting treatment in the States. Setbacks didn’t hold him back, however, Nogueira still got noticed as Chris Vivlamore of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported,
Nogueira played for Asefa Estudiantes Madrid of the ACB League last season. He left the team for two months to come to the United States for rehabilitation for tendinitis in his knees. In 18 games for Estudiantes he averaged 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17 minutes. He was named the league’s top defensive player.
Not surprisingly with an affordable buyout in place for the upcoming season, Nogueira has decided he either wants to come to the NBA or play for a bigger club team in Europe.
Hawks’ first-round draft pick Lucas Nogueira is currently working out in Atlanta following the end of his Spanish League season last month. Nogueira, who is expected to play with the Hawks in the Las Vegas Summer League in July, still has one year remaining on his contract with Estudiantes.
Buyouts for Nogueira’s contract with Estudiantes have been reported in the $600,000 to $800,000 range which is an amount easily dealt with by NBA teams under the current rules.
As Nogueira was planning on playing for the Hawks Las Vegas Summer League team, it is logical to assume he will suit up for Toronto now that he has been traded and since Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has been looking for a shot blocker and is willing to develop young talent, it seems likely Nogueira will be in the NBA next season.